Many patients falsely think themselves safe subsequent to the insertion of an implant and removal of bacteria: “Now that I have implants, I don’t need to brush my teeth as often anymore.“ This however is a fallacy – the opposite is true.
Indeed, a professionally mounted implant is more resilient than a natural tooth root. And yes, it is also true that an implant cannot be affected by tooth decay. However, implants are not attached to fibers in the bone by means of the so-called periodontium. This elastic fiber system is responsible for keeping the natural tooth in place, is supplied with blood, and therefore provides a natural form of protection against periodontitis bacteria. The implant, on the other hand, grows together directly with the bone by means of so-called osseointegration. Scar tissue is located around the implant and may resemble the gums but does not in fact command the same immune system. Consequently, a form of periodontitis, so-called peri-implantitis, can arise. In order for patients to remain pleased with their implant for decades on end, they must contribute to lastingly successful treatment themselves by means of performing a few simple steps on a regular basis:
Generally speaking, the implant should not be strained immediately and directly. Start with eating soft foods and do not start chewing right away after the implant was inserted! During the first few days after the operation, make sure not to clean your teeth with a brush but instead make of use of cotton swabs previously immersed in chlorhexidine solution! Apart from that, follow your dentist’s oral hygiene instructions and have them provide you with written recommendations!
Approximately two weeks after treatment, you can start using a toothbrush again. Your best bet is to use an electric or ultrasound toothbrush with a small head and to brush your teeth twice a day. Throughness comes before endurance: Make sure to avoid strong pressure! Clean your toothbrush following every brushing process and purchase a new head as soon as the bristles begin to bend! Make sure to use fluoride toothpaste!
Dental Floss etc.
Merely using a toothbrush is not sufficient for comprehensive oral hygiene as it only ends up reaching approx. 60 percent of the tooth surfaces. The remaining 40 percent can only be covered by means of interstitial flossing toothbrushes or dental floss (although it must be noted that dental floss is no longer indicated for periodontitis patients). Mouthwash and chewing gum can constitute useful additions but certainly not replacements.
Professional Dental Cleaning
In the past years, professional dental cleaning has certainly made a significant contribution to improve oral health in general. As part of this procedure, plaque and tartar proving unremovable by means of a regular toothbrush are eliminated. Particularly if you are prone to tooth decay or periodontitis, you should definitely take advantage of this option! However, professional dental cleaning performed between two and four times a year is also advisable in all other cases.